Monday, January 15, 2024

Washington DC 2023 -Planning

Giddy Gridding

April 2012
W Minus 4060
We begin planning a trip to Washington DC for Anabelle’s spring break…
instead, we accidentally go to Niagara Falls.
If you’ve ever met us, this should not be surprising.
June 2017
W minus 2173
Anabelle has her Eighth Grade Trip to Washington DC and develops an unhealthy attraction to the Washington Monument.
We all talk about how we should go as a family.
(Spoilers- We do not.)
August 29, 2019
W minus 1354
After going to Colorado and Disney World this summer, we discuss how next summer would be perfect for a family DC Trip.
Summer 2020
W minus 1016
(Spoilers- It was not.)
August 2021
W minus 633
Kim’s family takes Grandma to Washington DC, initiated because the plague cancelled Aurora’s Eighth Grade trip. They all enjoy the train ride down, have a fantastic time, and do end up using a Grid.
August 12, 2022
Rosa and I tempt fate after going to Colorado and Disney World this summer. We discuss how next summer would be perfect for a family DC Trip.
March 2023
W minus 72
My company does a lot of stupid things making us doubt if we’re going on the trip.
April 2, 2023
W minus 42
Rosa and I start to talk about going to Washington DC again in earnest, I barrage Kim with mountains of questions and get recommendations for the hotel, a tour, general information, and the train. Given the fact that all three of us have major trust issues that extend to public transportation in my case, we ignore the train recommendations. Kim sends along pictures, maps, and their Grid.
April 4 and 5, 2023
W minus 40, 39
We ask Anabelle if she wants to go to DC when school lets out over several conversations. She seems somewhat concerned that portions of the trip could be a “snooze-fest” but her obsession with the Washington Monument wins out.
April 6, 2023
W minus 38
I thought all the government building tours were shut down after January 6th, not realizing it was the plague that shut them down and they were mostly open again. The White House tour seems complicated and difficult to book. I mention this all to Rosa while breaking for lunch working from home one day. Almost immediately, I get an email from Rolando Morales, Staff Assistant to Representative Mikie Sherrill telling me no White House tours are available until July and asking if we would like to go on those dates. I thanked him and told him we would not be able to change our whole vacation timing. Although the website looked like Capitol tours were handed by a completely different agency, I asked him if any were available within our time frame. Less than two minutes later, he responded with instructions on how to report for security and to call their office when we got into the Capitol Visitor’s Area on Tuesday May 16th.
I guess we really are going. We should probably figure out when, and where we’re staying.
April 7, 2023
W minus 37
After an awesome day at the Museum of the Moving Image, we nose around with multiple open tabs at all the possible things to do in DC. We learn the Washington Monument is open too! (WOO!) But the night tour Kim took has dropped Iwo Jima. (Alas.) I also learned again what I always forget. Though its next door, the National Art Gallery (where the “good art” is) is not part of the Smithsonian. 
Only the National Zoo and Air and Space Museum need pre-reserved times for Smithsonian stuff we're planning to see. Anabelle is intrigued by the Library of Congress, and Rosa is by the National Archives. Both think the National Portrait Gallery sounds like “a snooze-fest.”  I bring up the Basilica, describing it as a HUGE Catholic church that’s supposed to be the main one in the country, dedicated to Mary. Anabelle points out that we could just go to Saint Mary’s in the next town at home. (That’s my girl!)  Rosa chimes in that it would be only considered a huge, fancy church in THIS country.
(Spoilers- We did not go.)

April 8, 2023
W minus 36
After Anabelle goes to bed (which is past our normal bedtime now) Rosa and I realize with the Capitol tour booked we really should lock down the hotel reservations. We now have zillions of comparative tabs open on two separate computers. We compare Hyatt membership to, Expedia and a few others for the place Kim stayed. Then we screw it up anyway.
We accidentally book the “save three dollars by prepaying your entire trip and forfeit any right to cancel.”  A quick call to Hyatt shows their awesomeness as they cancel the non-cancellable reservation and let us set up a normal one. They also confirm parking availability, and that, unlike New York, they do not charge extra for anything bigger than a mini-cooper as “oversized.”
[Later edit- This quick service in the middle of the night is ASTONISHING in hindsight as getting the front desk to answer the phone mid-day while we were there was a task and a half.]
April 10, 2023
W minus 34
The Basic Grid is constructed with days and some possibilities. The “visit the Washington monument” website seems clunky, with tickets selling out instantly. However, we have some ideas.
April 11-13, 2024
W minus 33-31
General reviews of how to sign up for things are done, but first we need to lock down the big Obelisk before formalizing anything else as that one vanishes as soon as the tickets are released.
April 14, 2023
W minus 30
Rosa and I both log in on two separate devices. 
Three of the four crash, but I get through and book the Washington Monument late afternoon on the first day of our now scheduled trip. With this settled, I can book other stuff.
Or at least the other stuff they let me book.
Night Tour, Archives and Air and Space are set. Zoo and Library of Congress are still pending.
April 15, 2023
W minus 29
Anabelle stays in the hotel room Rosa and I have the night after her Tap Showcase at college and we talk about the trip a bit. She wants to do the Library of Congress the same day as the Archives.
[Later edit: (Spoilers- For now.)]
April 18, 2023
W minus 26
I forgot my note about when to book it was wrong now that the plan for the Library of Congress moved back a day, but it didn’t matter. I set up an afternoon visit very easily. It looks like only the Washington Monument tickets go superfast.
April 19, 2023
W minus 25
I book the Zoo for the drive home. Everything but the possible dinner reservation in the place that Grandma and Kim remembered as being excellent and confirmed it still was on their trip is set. I have no memory of this place… I only remember eating in the hotel that had a giant salad bar.
[Later edit- We did not go to the place they remembered.
Also, our hotel did not have a salad bar…
(Spoilers- or a grasp of how the food service industry should work.)]

April 20, 2023
W minus 24
I dug up a bunch of nearby highly rated gluten free places for the trip.
Who knows?
[Later edit- Not us! None seemed appealing and/ or near us when we are hungry.]

April 26, 2023
W minus 18
Honestly, this feels very weird. Because, although it’s not a Disney planning requirements sized vacation, it is also nowhere near an Atlantic City do nothing trip. With everything else going on in life, I feel like we should be planning a lot more. This may be because I am insane.
April 29, 2023
W minus 15
I started running to the car in the rain and realized I always pull my calf when I run now and didn’t want to do that before the trip.
So I pulled up. But I pulled up awkwardly, meaning I pulled my hamstring.
April 30, 2023
W minus 14
Yesterday I pointed out to Anabelle that we don’t have the full Gridding structure of a Disney Trip for the DC vacation. She sends me her “Elaborate Outfit Planning ™” spreadsheet, because of course she does.
May 3, 2023
W minus 11
I have a nightmare and leap out of bed landing in a “superhero pose,” hurting both knees.
Nothing to do with planning but funny.
May 5, 2023
W minus 9
Much work this week on freeing up space on my phone. Backing up pictures so they could be deleted and making one master play list to listen to on the drive down is key.
I’m not sure which of these is more horrifying:
That the reduced selections from everything “Washingtunes” play list has over 2200 songs on it lasting well over five days…
Or that it, combined with 404 Muppet songs, is drastically less than the normal amount of music I carry with me.
May 6, 2023
W minus 8
My hamstring was doing much better, but it pulls again…
Walking across the street.
Hopefully, it will make it through the trip intact.
[Later Edit: (Spoilers- Almost!)]
May 7, 2023
W minus 7
We’re leaving in a week- I have a playlist, and two books packed. 
Perhaps I should think about pulling clothes together.
May 8, 2023
W minus 6
Clothes are packed. I’m going really old school on shirts. Most of the ones I’m wearing I have owned since before the last time I went to DC over thirty years ago.
May 12, 2023
W minus 2
Twelve hour plus day getting Anabelle and all of her stuff back from college. That will help me on the upcoming long drive.
May 13, 2023
W minus 1
Saw Guardians 3 and had dinner with Grandma and Kim’s bunch for an early Mother’s Day celebration. Then we spent the rest of the day and much of the night packing like crazy people.

May 14, 2023
We have reached “W”
For Washington.


anabelle said...

W for washington MONUMENT u mean...

Jeff McGinley said...

You should probably talk to someone about your obsession.

Thanx for adding to the fun then and now.